Peerless Bautista rings up record-breaking ‘Perfect 10’

Alvaro Bautista maintains his flawless start to life in the World Superbike Championship with a record-breaking victory
Peerless Bautista rings up record-breaking ‘Perfect 10’

Full Assen World Superbike race one results

Alvaro Bautista continued his flawless start to life in the World Superbike Championship as another controlled pole-to-flag victory in race one at Assen successfully brought him a record-breaking tenth consecutive success.

Having swept the board in each of the opening three events in Australia, Thailand and Aragon, Bautista and his Ducati team came into the Dutch race weekend with the opportunity to surpass Neil Hodgson’s all-time landmark of nine straight victories, and the former MotoGP rider didn't disappoint.

Starting from pole position – his third of the season – Bautista shrugged off a hesitant start to get the V4 R down into turn one with the lead and was never robustly challenged again thereafter.

Indeed, while the lack of a lengthy home straight and the clipping of 250RPM from the Ducati’s engine pre-event halted Bautista from romping into the distance this time, he wouldn’t face anything more than a keen Markus Reiterberger on his tail through the initial laps.

Once into his stride, Bautista went on to run out the winner by a clear 3secs to make it ten from ten. The success sees him supersede fellow Ducati alumni Hodgson to the accolade of most consecutive WSBK victories 16 years on. 

Matching Bautista like-for-like in terms of consistency, Jonathan Rea picked up a tenth straight second place finish for Kawasaki. The Ulsterman put in the work during the early laps to recover from an eighth place starting position, but while he would largely match Bautista on pace in clear air, he couldn’t make significant headway by the time he’d reached second.

Moreover, race two will bring further frustration for Rea following the decision to cancel the sprint race due to Saturday’s weather disruption, together with its reverse-grid format. It means Rea will start eighth again for this afternoon’s second outing, with Bautista back on pole to target an 11th win.

Rounding out the podium, Michael van der Mark secured a popular result on home soil in a largely lonely race aboard the PATA Yamaha. The Dutchman ran fourth initially behind Rea and a feisty Reiterberger, who worked hard to stick with Bautista initially, before the Dutchman snatched third place to clinch his first rostrum of the year.

Team-mate Alex Lowes ensured a healthy points haul for the Crescent-run team in fourth position, the Briton just getting the better of countryman Leon Haslam on the second of the Kawasakis.

Despite seeing his hopes of a maiden WorldSBK podium fade with his tyres, Reiterberger battled hard to cling onto a season’s best sixth position on the BMW S1000RR, successfully fending off Chaz Davies’ Ducati. The Welshman suffered a poor start to run tenth initially, eventually working up to seventh place albeit 17secs off Bautista.

Jordi Torres followed closely in eighth position on the Pedercini Kawasaki, with fellow ZX-10R rider Toprak Razgatlioglu securing ninth and Tom Sykes rounding out the top ten.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier headed Honda fortunes in 11th position, ahead of Marco Melandri who along with GRT Yamaha team-mate Sandro Cortese in 13th couldn’t come close to matching the Yamaha pace of the sister PATA outfit. 

Eugene Laverty, meanwhile, suffered a dismal start to the race day off the pace in 14th position, while former MotoGP team-mate Hector Barbera – making his WorldSBK debut this weekend – finished two laps down after beind delayed by technical issues on his Orelac Kawasaki.